The Draining Fantasy in Male Schizophrenics and in Normal Sambia Males

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Abstract

Is it mere coincidence that some schizophrenics associate semen with milk, and they fear being “drained” of this “semen/milk” during sexual intercourse, while across the globe, among the Sambia of New Guinea, men are apprehensive about being depleted of their “limited supply” of semen, which they equate with mother's milk? Unlike Sullivan (1954), who suggested that schizophrenics are not “startlingly different from anybody else” (p. 206), many would prefer to completely dichotomize that which is “schizophrenic” and that which is “normal.” Human psychological development and psychopathology, however, run on a continuum such that all people bear vestiges of earlier stages of their childhood development, and people of different levels of personal and cultural development and functioning may share elements of conscious and unconscious experience. In his presidential address to the American Psychological Association, Division of Psychoanalysis, Karon (1992) suggested that professionals may defend themselves against understanding schizophrenics partly because it makes them uncomfortable to see any similarity between themselves and those afflicted with this serious condition. It also makes us uncomfortable to empathize with their terror and to comprehend the conditions that engendered their abject desperation. The same type of discomfort may hinder the acceptance of any theory linking that which is schizophrenic to that which is normal. It is nevertheless the author's contention that the occurrence of the draining fantasy among some male schizophrenics and among normal Sambia males is no coincidence; the etiology of the draining fantasy in these two groups manifests developmental similarities as well as differences.

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